Spirit Untamed

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Spirit Untamed Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
So-so story, strong girls in upbeat horse adventure; peril.
  • PG
  • 2021
  • 88 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 4 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Viewers will learn a bit about horse stunt performers, as well as lessons in friendship and teamwork.

Positive Messages

Encourages courage, perseverance, teamwork. Also presents the importance of strong relationships with friends and open conversations with parents. Love of animals is also a major theme.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lucky and her friends are strong, brave, supportive. They're also impetuous and make iffy choices (like running away from home and not telling their parents) that land them in dangerous situations. But their motives are positive: to help Lucky and keep their friends safe. The group of friends is diverse, but there's no mention of the role of gender or race in context of time period the movie takes place in.

Violence & Scariness

Lucky's mother dies during a stunt; not shown, but it's clear based on how audience reacts. A group of thieves is menacing, occasionally scary. Lucky nearly dies while riding Spirit. Some perilous jumps, situations. In a fight with horse thieves, the girls each have to use their rodeo skills to rough up men and even tie some up. Main thief kicks at Lucky and the horses, tries to shoot them. The girls outwit the thieves with help from their parents, who also take on the thieves.

Sexy Stuff
Language

"What the heck," "crazy," "are we insane?"

Consumerism

Nothing on-screen, but off-screen there are merchandising tie-ins, including apparel, dolls, toys, books, even special hairstyles at Drybar. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Spirit Untamed is DreamWorks Animation's reboot of their Spirit franchise (which includes both and the popular Spirit Riding Free series). This feature-length adventure tells the story of how young Lucky Prescott (voiced by Isabella Merced) forms a bond with a wild stallion in the Old West. Expect scenes of peril, an early parental death (not shown on-screen, but characters react), and kids making reckless choices to save Spirit and other wild horses from a band of thieves. The young characters face close calls and near injuries, and they make some iffy choices -- like running away in order to help the wild horses. But ultimately the story affirms strong relationships, the importance of caring for animals and dear friends, and the need for open communication between parents and kids. The all-star voice cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Julianne Moore, McKenna Grace, and Andre Braugher.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMikeinsurance June 6, 2021

Overall Good

Overall this is a safe movie. The only negatives are, in typical Hollywood fashion , the foundation is one parent (mother) died and the father was emotionally u... Continue reading
Parent of a 5 and 8-year-old Written byFarahsg August 15, 2021
Teen, 14 years old Written byAdrian Serpa July 22, 2021

Spirt untamed

This movie is better then the tv show and the old move
Teen, 14 years old Written byLets review this July 5, 2021

Honestly not my cup of tea

I didn’t have high expectations for this film because I believed it was going to stink. Overall I was confused. I love spirit because I’ve seen the series which... Continue reading

What's the story?

SPIRIT UNTAMED follows Fortuna "Lucky" Prescott, whose mother dies while doing a stunt in a rodeo show when Lucky is very young. She's raised to be a proper lady in the city by her Aunt Cora (Julianne Moore), until an unfortunate incident forces Cora to take Lucky to visit her father, Jim (Jake Gyllenhaal), who lives in the fictional frontier bordertown of Miradero. On the way there, Lucky sees a wild mustang and instantly feels drawn to it. When the horse, whom she calls Spirit, ends up in a local rancher's corral, Lucky keeps visiting him. She overhears a group of men, who are actually a band of thieves, boasting about their plans to steal wild horses and take them across the border -- beyond the reach of the law. Lucky, who's barely ridden a horse before, manages to convince her new Miradero friends, rodeo girls Pru (Marsai Martin) and Abigail (McKenna Grace), to join her in a dangerous plan to take Spirit (and the two other girls' horses) on a rescue mission to save Spirit's family.

Is it any good?

Horse-loving kids will enjoy this predictably sweet story about a trio of plucky girls in the Old West who defy the odds to save a pack of wild horses. Directors Elaine Bogan and Ennio Torresan's tale is part origin story for Lucky and Spirit, part "road trip" adventure (if you replace "road" with "horseback"), and part obvious setup for more about Lucky, her newfound best friends, and their horses in the little town of Miradero. There's plenty in Spirit Untamed for kids to enjoy: the horses, the vast animated frontier landscapes, the girls' daredevil personalities (particularly Lucky and Abigail; Pru usually serves as the voice of reason), and the silly duo of Abigail's entrepreneurial little brother, Snips (Lucian Perez), and his pet donkey, Señor Carrots. The girls' friendship grows quickly under the circumstances -- and thanks to their mutual affinity for horses. And any movie that includes strong female friendships (that have nothing to do with attracting boys) should be applauded.

Parents, on the other hand, may find themselves slightly underwhelmed at aspects of the plotline, particularly the lost opportunity to address and provide context around the intentionally diverse group of characters. Lucky's Latinx heritage is all but ignored, beyond the inclusion of a few Spanish words and a couple of early conversations. That aside, the movie is fun for younger audiences, and it will remind viewers about the importance of forming close friendships and strengthening parent-child trust. Parents and kids alike should also dig the soundtrack, which includes Fleet Foxes' "Ragged Wood," Taylor Swift's "Wildest Dreams," and original songs by star Merced.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the character strengths demonstrated in Spirit Untamed. Which characters demonstrate courage, perseverance, and teamwork? Why are those skills so important?

  • How does the movie tackle race and gender on the western frontier? Do fictional stories need to put gender roles and race relations in context for the time in which they're set? How can a story incorporate diverse voices while staying authentic?

  • Which characters do you consider role models? Does the story address the consequences of the girls' decisions and behavior? What do they learn from their mistakes?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love horses

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate